The History Guides Walks, talks and lectures
The History GuidesWalks, talks and lectures

Our guides work for Historic Royal Palaces and are qualified to deliver inspiring and entertaining tours of the buildings and gardens of Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and the Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace. Our Art Historians regularly work in the Tate, Tate Modern, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.

We also offer various walks, talks and lectures in London which may take the form of a visit to an art gallery or a guided walk. The best way to really get to know the city is to walk around the streets with a knowledgeable guide and we can offer bespoke packages of combined walks and art visits.

Here are some examples of our walks and tours: 


Hampton Court's Painted Ladies -

Lely's 'Windsor Beauties' and Knellor's 'Hampton Court Beauties'
'Voluptuous beauties - a handful of husbands - pocketfuls of lovers - a few fair reputations - and much slanderous wit'. 

We look at the place these famous works hold in the history of portraiture and compare the style of Peter Lely with that of Godfrey Knellor. 

Land of a Thousand Years - Hampton Court Palace Gardens
This walk traces the history of the Palace gardens from Roman times. Hear stories about the personalities who have put their individual stamp on a unique and very special garden. Walk in the footsteps of Henry VIII; see the site of his tiltyard and fishponds.  Marvel at a garden William III would recognise and which perfectly compliments the Baroque Palace he commissioned from Sir Christopher Wren. 

An Eclectic Taste - The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection is a personal anthology of three generations of one family, displayed in an imposing house tucked away in a quiet square behind Selfridges store. Significant paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt and Velasquez surprise the spectator but the most thrilling feature of this collection is perhaps 'The Laughing Cavalier', or Fragonard’s 'The Swing'.  After exploring this unique collection, coffee, lunch or afternoon tea is served in the best-kept secret in London - the Atrium Café. 

Thank you, Your Majesty! - Hampton Court Palace

King Charles I is officially recognised as the architect of what is now the Royal Collection. This tour at Hampton Court Palace includes one of the ‘jewels in the crown’, The Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna and other significant paintings - from Tudor works of art to the reign of George III.  The personalities of all the various Royal collectors are revealed in their quest for magnificent examples of art.

The Jewel in the Lost Crown - Whitehall Palace
The Banqueting House was the first major classical building in England, designed by Inigo Jones for plays and masques, and now the only remaining part of the great Whitehall Palace. The magnificent ceilings by Sir Peter Paul Rubens were commissioned by Charles I, to celebrate the Stuart dynasty, and were the last paintings seen by the king as he made his way to his execution at the Banqueting House on a freezing day in January 1649.   


Historic Southwark Guided Walk 
Southwark has an authentic historic ambiance. This was where the great Medieval Inns were located, and from where Chaucer's pilgrimage set off for Canterbury. A haven for 'undesirable' elements, it became the home of the Medieval Stews (Brothels), and also the Shakespearean Stage. Our tour starts at the famous Globe theatre and includes: Frost Fairs on the Thames, London Bridge, the Golden Hind, the Clink, Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market and 
The George, London's only surviving galleried inn.  You may also like to visit the Old Operating Theatre nearby (which lay undiscovered in the attic of a Baroque church for a hundred years). 

A Tale of One City - The Square mile, where London began

Walk through the oldest part of London on a journey through 2,000 years of history. Pass ancient walls, monasteries, alley ways and churches. Discover the City’s secrets; stand on the site of executions and burnings; hear tales of haunting, monks and mayhem. Just one street can take you back through time to: the last of the London gin palaces; the site of an infamous prison; the oldest hospital in London; a Norman church; the street corner where the fire of London stopped and the place where the Scottish patriot William Wallace met his end.

Historic Westminster: Monarchy, Government & Power

Westminster has been the seat of government for 1,000 years, from feudal kings to the present day. We will walk past buildings that have changed English history and see where kings and queens lived, were crowned and sometimes buried. See Whitehall, the site of a great Tudor palace which saw the execution of a king, and then Westminster - the home of our parliament. Passing churches, parks, and the palace of our current sovereign we will trace the history of royalty, ceremony, government and power.



1) Great Fire of London 1666: from Pudding Lane to Pie Corner

2) Covent Garden: Anglo Saxons, Theatres, Markets, Convents and Brothels.

3) Inns of Court: Lawyers, Monastries, Knights Templar & Temple Church.

4) Tower of London to Mansion House: The East side of the City.

5) Piccadilly to St James': Luxury Retail, Gentleman's Clubs, Royal Palace.

6) Clerkenwell & Islington: Medieval Hospital & Monastry, Sadlers Wells, Georgian London, Smithfield.

7) Waterloo to Soho: The Strand, Embankment, Charing X, Trafalager Square, Theatreland, Chinatown, Soho.




EXPLORE KEW with Sophie Jones

In an authentic Georgian costume.


Hear all the 

Secrets of Kew Palace!


Curious Kew Palace- Meet the Real George III

Explore the favourite country retreat of George III in the 18th century, and Britain's smallest royal palace. See the recently discovered 18th century royal kitchens, virtually untouched for 200 years, where the King took his baths. Finally, take a stroll to the cottage once belonging to his Queen, Charlotte. All this is situated within the breath taking landscape of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.*

Discover the true King behind the man known as 'mad' King George, husband, father, and Britain's third longest reigning monarch.' 

*Please be aware that entry into Kew Gardens is necessary for this tour, and a separate entry fee is payable.


Tours at Hampton Court Palace by Sarah Slater, MITG

HRP Guide Lecturer and South Central Blue Badge Tourist Guide.


Qualified to lead tours at Hampton Court either in historical costume or in business attire.

(Photo: Sarah in Georgian court dress) 


I have a passion for Hampton Court Palace, so much so that I could talk about the history, art and architecture all day, but I have a particular interest in the human stories of those who in the past have lived and worked within the palace walls. My knowledge is far reaching, I particularly enjoy tailoring my tours to fit with your particular interests and needs, so if you have an area of interest that you would like to focus on or learn more about please contact me so that we can discuss your requirements and what I can offer.


‘An introduction to Hampton Court Palace’ - I will lead you on an introductory tour of the palace, giving you the history of the building and the main players in the palace history. We will explore the Tudor Kitchens, seeing for ourselves where the food was prepared to feed the inhabitants of this power house, we will walk the cloisters and see the ‘behind stairs’ areas. We will then venture upstairs to first floor where we will view the magnificent Tudor State Apartments of King Henry VIII, we will learn the history of Henry VIII’s love life all whilst standing where history happened. We will then explore the gardens where we will find the Real Tennis Court, the Tudor Pond Gardens and the Great Vine.


A palace of two halves’ - Hampton Court Palace is often referred to as a ‘Palace of two halves’, during this tour we will explore the meaning of this nickname that the palace has earned, I will lead you on an introductory tour of both halves of Hampton Court Palace palace, the Tudor palace of King Henry VIII and the Baroque palace of our joint monarchs King William III and Queen Mary II. I will help you to explore the different architecture, Tudor and Baroque, and we will view the amazing juxtaposition created by Sir Christopher Wren from out in the gardens. We will then venture upstairs to the first floor to explore the State Apartments, we will gain an understanding of the difference between the magnificence of the Tudors and the splendour of the enfilade created by the later Stuarts and Georgians.


‘Drama, theatre and Shakespeare at Hampton Court Palace’ I will lead you on a tour through Hampton Court Palace looking at relevant areas related to drama and theatre such as the performance space in the great hall where we know that The King’s Men performed during Shakespeare’s lifetime. We will explore the splendour of the Royal Masque and compare it to theatre productions of the period, we will discuss all aspects of the performance, from set design by some of the most famous architects of the day such as Inigo Jones, to costume design. We will also compare the performance space in the Great Hall to The Globe in London.


‘The ghosts of Hampton Court Palace and other stories of the macabre’


The history of costume through the tapestries and paintings at Hampton Court Palace’


‘Grace and Favour at Hampton Court Palace’


‘The LGBTQ+ history of the royal family and courtiers at Hampton Court Palace’


‘A history of sport at Hampton Court Palace’


‘The tapestries at Hampton Court Palace’


‘Salacious gossip and royal mistresses’


‘Henry VIII’s horses and the continuation of the Royal Stud at Hampton Court Palace’


‘Hampton Court Palace as a filming location’


‘Hampton Court Palace during the Civil War and the Commonwealth’


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© The History Guides 2016